Valentine’s Nightmare

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Every year Valentine’s Day looms; that pain-in-the-ass day where you feel obligated to honor all of your intimate relationships. Yuck.

Personally, I am much more interested in buying gifts for people when the mood strikes me (if I see something they would like.) And yet, if you don’t get a gift for your significant others on Valentine’s Day then you are an asshole. Also, it has to be a gift they would like; not something that you want (Example: Do not get your girlfriend lingerie and then ask her to wear for you unless she asked for it.)

If you are monogamous, then you really only have to worry about one person, so that is a relief. In this way, you can stress about Valentine’s Day like a vanilla person, with only the concerns of what to get and where to go. It’s still uncomfortable pressure on what might otherwise be a comfortable relationship. But at least you only have the one person to concern yourself with.

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If you are Poly, then you either put a lot of thought into planning something special for everyone you are dating, …or you are me.

Normally I am pretty good at this stuff. I have been poly for a long time, and I know that I need to make sure that everyone feels valued on important days. But sometimes (like right now) I am a little overwhelmed and it all falls apart.

The story goes like this: I just got back from Australia and I am still recovering from the trip. I won’t bore you with the details, but I am not as young as I used to be and I have medical issues that make traveling hard. So, I needed to catch up on doctor’s appointments and sleep.

I bought my husband a card and some chocolates and I thought “that should be fine.” After all, the rest of my relationships are long-distance right now, so what are the odds they will want to exchange gifts? I guess I knew in the back of my mind that I was lying to myself, but it felt so good to choose the option that didn’t involve getting out of bed, so I did…

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Then a very sweet card arrived from one of my guys in the US, with a gift card inside.

Fuck.

So of course, I panicked like the basket-case that I am at the moment.

I jumped on Amazon.com and send him a gift that is probably over-the-top because I feel guilty. Then I grabbed my address book and picked out a book for the other guy I am in a relationship with as well (just in case he got me something.)

Then, sitting by myself on my floor having just spent $100 on amazon, I wondered if I am also expected to call.

Probably.

On the day, or the weekend before?

I have no idea.

Le Sigh.

And this is just the distress of a person who is casually dating people who she is geographically separated from. When we all lived in the same place, it was much more complicated. Who gets Valentine’s Day night? My primary? Or since they get me all the time, is that not fair? What if my primary says they don’t care about Valentine’s Day and so I make other plans, but then they realize last minute that they do care?

This is different for poly people who don’t have separate relationships. Sometimes a couple dates another person as a unicorn and they can all spend Valentine’s Day together. Sometimes two people are dating two other people and each other, and they can just double-date. There are lots of situations that can work out to be less complicated, depending.

Mine just isn’t currently one of them.

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Anyway, you can tell I hate Valentine’s Day. It is, and always has been, my least favorite holiday. It’s full of pressure to have the perfect dinner, the perfect scene, and the perfect sex. Not to mention the pressure on Poly folks to decide who you see on the day, and who gets a day that isn’t really Valentine’s Day but you can pretend.

You can say that I am just contrary, (since if you know me, you know I also hate Christmas.) But I would argue that I have very good reasons to dislike the holidays that I dislike, and that I make up for it by loving Halloween five or six times more than normal.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good Valentine’s Day. Spend it with people you love and don’t let the societal pressures and expectations bum you out!

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Valentine’s Day

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Yes, Valentine’s Day is a stupid Hallmark Holiday. That’s true. But it means a lot to some people, and this can get very complicated if you are poly. So, what do you do when you are in three relationships and everyone wants to be together on Valentine’s Day or go to a Valentine’s day event together?

I wish there was an easy answer to that question.

The truth is, there are no easy answers and it’s simply a matter of doing a lot of negotiation and figuring out how to find a solution that works for everyone.

Basic Tips That May Help:

1. Do not commit to anything until you are sure! If your primary says “Can I go out with someone else for Valentine’s Day?” and you say yes, make sure you mean it. Don’t think you can get a date, not get a date, and then sit alone hating someone who gave you a fair chance to say no.

By the same token, do not commit to going on a date and then back out at the last minute because someone has a meltdown. Honor your commitments, and take care of hurt feelings on the right person’s time.

2. Don’t try to be with everyone at once. I know, it’s hard. Maybe you are on a date and someone else is texting you, and you know they are home alone and sad. Maybe you want to keep checking on them. Don’t.

You need to do your best to be where you are when you are. If you negotiated a date with someone, don’t go out with them and then spend all your time on the phone with someone else.

3. Be mindful of gifts. Maybe that guy you went on three dates with doesn’t need a card. But your boyfriend of a year does, and your primary probably deserves a very thoughtful and creative gift.

Whatever you do, do not just get everyone the same thing!

There’s probably a lot more, but those are just a few basic things that might be good to keep in mind. Remember, if you don’t know something it is okay to ask. You can say “Do you need me to spend Valentine’s Day with you?” or “Do you feel that we have known each other long enough to exchange gifts?” And remember, if you are asked these kinds of questions, please be honest. If you don’t communicate the things you want, you are not very likely to get them.

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To my beautiful Pet:

Thank you for being the very best part of my day, every single day. There are many people that I love, but no one else that I like to be with day in and day out. I never get tired of you.

Happy Hallmark Holiday!

I love you.

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